Whenever I’m asked to name a great director who always manages to stay off the popular radar, Guy Maddin is the first who comes to mind. He makes films to appeal to the hardcore film nerd: things that look like broken artifacts once buried under the foundation of an old hotel in the middle of nowhere. Most of his movies are black and white and often shot on 8mm or 16mm film with in-camera effects techniques that would have been current around the time King Kong made his first trip up the Empire State building.

Guy Maddin’s stories follow their own very strange logic, but despite a deliberately unusual approach to narrative, he creates characters that are effective and memorable. The people in his movies want the same things we all want; they just live in worlds where the rules are a little different from ours. His last few features are absolutely worth a look for anyone who isn’t shackled to the idea that films have to be modern in appearance or traditional in story structure. (My Winnipeg and The Saddest Music in the World, are streaming on Netflix, and Brand Upon the Brain! has a great Criterion release.)

He hasn’t had a new feature since the 2007 pseudo-documentary My Winnipeg, but now Keyhole — which features gangsters, the reanimated dead and a near-mythological journey — is almost ready to go. There are new stills from the film that features actors such as Jason Patric (a very interesting addition to his company), Isabella Rossellini and Udo Kier. The shots are beautiful. If I needed to hear more than ‘new Guy Maddin movie’ to get interested in Keyhole, these shots would do the trick. Check ‘em out after the break. Read More »

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egoyan-maddin-lightbox

For the past few years the Bell Lightbox has been under construction just on the north edge of downtown Toronto. The center is meant to be the new headquarters of the Toronto International Film Festival, and it finally opens this year, on September 12.

In addition to the annual festival, which opens September 9, the center will open with a free exhibit called Essential Cinema, which will be complemented by a collection of new short films. Among the directors involved are festival favorites Atom Egoyan and Guy Maddin. Read More »

VOTD: Ray Tintori’s Death To The Tinman

death to the tinman

24-year-old Ray Tintori, directed Death To The Tinman as his undergraduate thesis film for Wesleyan University’s Film Studies program. Highly inspired by Wes Anderson and Guy Maddin, the 12-minute black and white short film is a very loose adaptation of the origin story of the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz. The short tells the story of a human lumberjack who is transformed into a metal man without a heart.

“Tintori transported the story’s basic premise to a surreal, rural 1940s South, replacing Oz magic with evangelical mysticism; pastors, congregations, and the Rapture replace flying monkeys and witches melting upon contact with water.”

The short premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, where it received an Honorable Mention for Short Filmmaking. It also played in the South by Southwest Film Festival and New York Film Festival. Tintori has gone on to a successful career directing music videos, working with MGMT, The Killers, Cool Kids and Chairlift. Ray is also currently developing a couple feature screenplays. Watch his short film, Death to the Tinman, after the jump.

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